Cohen Bramall’s remarkable rise from non-league football to joining Arsenal has been well documented but so far this season the left-back has had to endure a considerable amount of frustration.
After joining Arsenal in a surprise move in January, Bramall quickly established himself as a regular in the club’s U23 side and produced some encouraging displays, which earned him involvement in the first-team’s pre-season preparations.
The 22-year-old produced some mixed performances in those fixtures as he demonstrated his searing speed and ability to provide an attacking threat but also his vulnerability in a defensive sense.
It was subsequently decided that Bramall would spend the season on loan at Birmingham City in order for him to gain valuable experience of senior football and also to provide a gauge regarding the level that he is currently at.
The initial signs were encouraging as Bramall started, as a left-winger, in Birmingham’s 2-0 league defeat to Reading, while he also featured in the Carabao Cup.
Since then, however, Bramall hasn’t played at all and has been left out of the matchday squad for five of Birmingham’s last six Championship games.
The departure of Harry Redknapp, who brought him to the club, certainly hasn’t helped Bramall’s cause and we are now into October with the Arsenal loanee having played just 90 minutes of league football this season.
There is a wider point to be made about how several of Arsenal’s loanees struggle to force their way into the starting line-ups of their temporary sides but Bramall’s problem is a particularly pertinent one.
Given his age, Bramall isn’t in a situation where he can have four or five loan spells with the hope of succeeding in one of them. His time at Birmingham may not exactly be make or break for his Arsenal career but so far it certainly isn’t helping his chances of succeeding for the Gunners.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that this loan spell isn’t working out but the only positive to take from matters is that it is still rather early in the season.
At the moment, however, it is difficult to envisage the situation changing unless Birmingham suffer a spate of injuries.
It seems almost certain that Birmingham will spend the season in a battle to avoid relegation and in such circumstances they are unlikely to turn to a player whose experience of second tier football is virtually non-existent.
Current Birmingham manager Steve Cotterill doesn’t appear to have much faith in Bramall but all the Arsenal player can do is continue to work hard in training and hope that his situation will change for the better.